O-Bits—Slap and Trickle Edition

It’s called “the existential slap”: that moment when a person diagnosed with a terminal illness realizes that death is near. The Atlantic takes a look at what psychologists are learning about how we react to that knowledge. One thing they discovered is that the Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’ five stages are not quite as linear as once thought. People can toggle between a sense of  denial and of acceptance. “You have to live with awareness of dying, and at the same time balance it against staying engaged in life,” a doctor explains. “It’s being able to hold that duality—which we call double awareness—that we think is a fundamental task.”


What happens after we’re dead? We’re not sure, but some people really go out of their way to make sure they’re remembered. The Sowetan Sunday Times has a story about the current vogue for gaudy headstones. The boxer Baby Jake Matala’s headstone is a life-sized representation of the boxer in a defensive pose, gloved fists at the ready. But our favorite is South African TV star Joe Mafela, whose grave has a flat-screen TV, coffee table, and couch, all carved in granite.

Mabuti Kali

In New Orleans, the dead are interred above ground, but that doesn’t mean that death doesn’t come bubbling up from underground. The Times-Picayune takes a look at the odd objects that show up in the city’s storm drains, an inventory that includes guns, power drills, Mardi Gras beads, and a pile of bones.











Steven Mirkin

Steven Mirkin’s diverse career has taken him from politics to pop culture to high art, offering him a front row seat to some of the most fascinating events and personalities of our time: writing speeches, fundraising appeals and campaign materials for Ed Koch, John Heinz and independent presidential candidate John B. Anderson; chronicling the punk/new wave scenes in New York and London; interviewing musicians such as Elton John, John Lydon and Buck Owens; profiling modern masters Julian Schnabel, Paul Schrader and Jonathan Safran Foer; and writing for TV shows including 21, The Chamber, Let's Make A Deal, and Rock Star: INXS.

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